There are so many reasons to visit the Grand Canyon State. Whether it’s the distinctive charm of its cities and towns, the eerie and energizing allure of its ancient landscapes, the rich and layered stories of its past, or the many surprises that await in its under-the-radar regions, Arizona is the perfect vacation destination if you’re pining for a place that is brimming with options.
Just about everywhere you go in Arizona, you’ll find fun things to do, iconic sights to marvel at, and friendly locals to chat with. But, if you’re in the mood for an escape that’s a bit on the unconventional side, be sure to venture north of Greater Phoenix to find yourself amid some of the state’s lesser known gems, including the welcoming communities of Prescott and Cottonwood.
History and adventure await you here
Known for its True West atmosphere, Prescott is a place where visitors can revel in the beauty of their natural surroundings while learning about the area’s fascinating history. Because of its high desert terrain, the city was once the well-trod stomping grounds of legendary cowboys (think Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday) who would roll through on horseback or stroll down the famous Whiskey Row, happy to escape the heat of the Valley.
Prescott offers cool nights, unforgettable western sunsets, and plenty of surprises. For instance, when most people think of Arizona, they don’t often picture sparkling bodies of water, but Prescott is surrounded by three lakes. They lured cowboys back in the days of the Wild West, and now they bring outdoor enthusiasts from near and far. Visitors can explore hidden pockets of the area by kayak, stand-up paddleboard or canoe. Prescott is also home to more than 400 miles of groomed trails that weave in and around the lakes, not to mention a thriving city square, museums and more.
Whether you want to relax in a natural environment filled with beauty and wildlife, or dive into the history of cowboys, saloons and the Old West, Prescott is alive with experiences that are “True West. Real Adventure.”
The Heart of Arizona’s Wine Country
Take a scenic drive north of Phoenix and watch as the terrain changes from saguaro cactus to rolling hills and flowing rivers.
It’s those flowing rivers that allow for grape-growing and wine-producing in the area. What, wine in Arizona? Yes, and it’s winning awards. The Verde Valley Wine Trail covers a 20-mile radius, offering opportunities to stop at, and enjoy, 24 tasting rooms or wineries along the way. Visitors can pick up a wine passport at the official Visitor Center in the town of Cottonwood—where they’ll also discover myriad other things to experience around town.
Indeed, this area isn’t just about the wine. Visitors find themselves coming for the sips and staying for the fun. With signature events that focus on dining, music, birding, nature, art and even chocolate, there’s something going on year-round in Cottonwood to make for an entertaining stay.
The town is also home to an outdoor wildlife park, kayak adventures and a western dinner show, not to mention a neighbouring scenic railway tour, copper museum, state parks and so much more.
Hit the road less travelled in northern Arizona. Start planning at ExploreMoreAZ.com.